Some analysts gave attention the offseason acquisitions of the Los Angeles Lakers this summer. However, due to the buzz and the fuzz that followed Dwight Howard’s decision to depart from the City of Angeles and join James Harden and the Houston Rockets, most of the Lakers’ additions passed under the radar. Nonetheless, LA managed to silently gather a very capable ensemble. This supporting cast is expected to play a big role in the team’s course in the 2013-2014 season, with the first signs already been shown in the season opener.
What’s really noticeable for the Lakers but wasn’t given much attention during the summer is the fact that most of the newcomers in LA signed really affordable contracts for the Lakers. Steve Nash will earn more this season more than what Wesley Johnson, Xavier Henry, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Jordan Hill and Jodie Meeks will earn combined. And yet each of these six role players is expected to have more impact to the team and be more productive than Nash.
As the Head Coach of the Lakers, Mike D’Antoni, stated, he plans to use Nash for limited minutes this season. In fact, the 39-year old point guard might also get some nights off, when the team plays back-to-back games. With Pau Gasol also not being the type of dominant player he used to be a few seasons before and Kobe Bryant’s return date still unknown, the Lakers do need to rely on their role players. And that’s exactly what they did during the season opener, when they used a 76-point performance from their bench to beat the Los Angeles Lakers.
As it was clearly shown during the season opener but also during the pre-season, these role players will be a very essential part of the Lakers’ game this season. Thankfully, the roster includes some players that can be solid contributors and fill in for the under performing stars.
Nick Young is a player that can average 10-12 points per game for LA, especially now that he will have a starting role he will be assigned with more minutes. Jodie Meeks has also lifted up his performance and can certainly do better than the 7.9 points and 38.7 percent shooting from the floor. The former No.4 draft pick Wesley Johnson is another great offseason signing for the Los Angeles Lakers and he is expected to be a solid contributor this season. Although his star hasn’t yet signed, he now is in a great team environment and he will have the chance to prove that he can emerge as a player going forward.
Ever heard of a guy named Xavier Henry? He landed in LA during the summer in move that barely made the news. In his first game with the Lakers uniform he finished with a career-high 22 points, lifting the team over the Los Angeles Clippers in the fourth quarter.
No matter what the course of the team might be this season one thing is for sure, the role players will have play a big role in it.